Frequently Asked Questions About Globejotter Tours
How are Globejotter Tours different from other tours?
Globejotter Tours are travel adventures and creative writing workshops all rolled into one! Our primary focus is on exploring and visiting foreign cultures. Along the way, we teach you how to write about your experiences in meaningful ways that help capture your journeys in words.
Many people who try to write travel diaries face a couple of common frustrations: Either their writing doesn’t fully capture the spirit of their trips, or they simply can’t find time to write during an exciting vacation, and return home with a mostly-empty notebook. On our tours, we teach proven techniques to help you hurdle these writing challenges. Then, we help you take your journaling to the next level, writing more polished stories you can share with friends and family, post on a blog, or publish professionally.
Globejotter Tours founder Dave Fox is a professional freelance travel writer and international tour guide, with more than 15 years of experience in both. He leads all of our trips, often partnering with licensed local guides to add an insider’s knowledge to the places we visit.
Our number one priority is always the travel experience. We visit top sights and seek out unique cultural encounters. We also include a liberal amount of free time so you can get out and explore on your own. Then, every couple of days, we have a class to help you write about your experiences. You’ll return home with a notebook full of stories that will keep your travel memories burning bright for years to come.
What sorts of people are these tours designed for?
Fun people! Seriously…this is your vacation, not some stodgy writing workshop! We ask all of our participants to travel with an open mind and an eagerness to learn about the people whose lives we visit.
These are physically active tours. You will be expected to carry your own bags, and you must be able to happily climb several flights of stairs. Some of our city walks and other activities will require walking for a couple of miles and standing for a couple of hours at a time. When possible, we also arrange opportunities to rent bicycles or participate in other physical activities, though these are always optional. At the same time, we promise our tours are not physical endurance tests. We move at a pace that’s lively, not deadly.
When tour itineraries are excessively rigid, we miss out on the spontaneous experiences that can make for our most magical memories. So on Globejotter Tours, we leave some room for spontaneity, and we encourage our groups to be flexible and easy-going. No trip in a foreign place ever flows flawlessly, no matter how experienced your guides are. “When you travel, things go wrong,” was the theme of Dave Fox’s travel humor book, Getting Lost: Mishaps of an Accidental Nomad. Unexpected glitches and surprises often make for our best stories after the fact. And while our guides do everything they can to keep things running smoothly, we encourage you to travel with a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and the knowledge that those moments when things go awry could later become some of your best travel tales.
Finally, these are trips for people with independent spirits. Our tours offer a liberal amount of free time. You might use some of this time to work on your writing, but more importantly, we give you the flexibility to get out and have unique experiences on your own that we simply can’t orchestrate as a group. Whenever we arrive in a new city or town, we begin with an orientation walk to help you feel comfortable wandering on your own or with a partner. We hit some of the sightseeing highlights as a group. Then we give you time to stray from our herd, and get out and find your own adventures. These experiences always make for fun conversations when we get back together for group meals.
What types of writing do you explore in the classes?
Dave Fox is an award-winning travel humorist and author of the bestselling book, Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!). He is the writing instructor on all of our tours. He has traveled in nearly 50 countries on five continents. On our tours, his classes focus on storytelling and personal essay writing — starting with a crash course in how to write more effective and meaningful travel diaries, and then exploring ways to turn those “rough draft” diary entries into polished travel memoirs.
What skill level are the writing classes taught at?
Writers of all skill levels are welcome on our trips. Some journal simply for themselves. Others seek to break into freelance travel writing, build upon freelance skils they already have, or explore a new genre of writing. Regardless of your own background and goals, the skills you achieve on our tours will stay with you long after the trip is over. You’ll write more vividly and easily in future travels, and you’ll learn techniques to improve other types of writing as well. Dave also schedules one-on-one time with each trip member to help focus on his or her personal goals.
I’m interested in a different style or genre of writing than non-fiction travel tales. Can I work on that instead on your tours?
Absolutely! Dave’s expertise lies in travel, humor, and creative non-fiction, and that will be the focus of our classes, but you are welcome to use your time to work on fiction, journalism, poetry, or anything else. Dave has a degree in journalism, and experience editing a wide array of genres. When you have one-on-one time with him, he’s happy to help you develop your personal writing goals, whatever they might be.
I love to write but my travel partner doesn’t. (Or… I don’t love to write but I love your itineraries and travel philosophies.) Does everybody in the group have to participate in all of the writing classes?
No way! Again, this is your vacation and we want you to have fun! If you feel like skipping some or all of the writing classes to take in extra sights or participate in Dave’s favorite travel activity, aimless wandering, go for it! Whenever possible, we’re happy to recommend things you can go do while the rest of us are having our writing sessions.
We might have an occasional class that takes place in transit, or in another setting you can’t really escape. For example, on our upcoming Vietnam tour, we’ll have a writing class on board a private boat as we cruise down the Mekong River. So chances are you’ll find yourself sitting in on a class or two. But otherwise, we understand — particularly when it comes to couples traveling together — that different people have different goals. We want you to make this the best journey you can in whatever way makes you happy!
Do I have to be from the United States or Canada to come on a Globejotter Tour?
No! Globejotter Tours is based in Seattle, Washington, so we quote our prices in US dollars, but people of all nationalities are welcome! Our tours do not include airfare, so you can get yourself to the starting and ending points from wherever you like! (If you have a shorter flight than Dave does, he is jealous! Just please, promise not to laugh at his funny American accent!)
How safe are the areas the tours visit?
Dave does not travel anywhere that he does not consider safe. Of course, whenever we leave our familiar surroundings and travel to foreign places, there are risks involved… on the other hand, if you spend all day cowering under your bed, there’s no guarantee your roof won’t collapse on you, so why not get out and see the world? We will always give you detailed information on any health or safety issues in the places we go before the tour begins to help things go as smoothly as possible for you.
Is it possible to add other independent travels before or after the tour?
Yes! This is another advantage of setting up your own travel arrangements to and from the tour’s starting and ending points. Dave is happy to offer advice on additional exploring to consider in or near the tour region.
Once I pay a deposit, what is your refund policy?
Your initial $300 deposit guarantees you a space and is non-refundable, unless Globejotter Tours is forced to cancel a tour due to unforeseen circumstances. A second $300 deposit is due at least 90 days before the tour. If you choose to pay it early, we will refund it up until 90 days before the tour. Final payments are due 65 days before the tour. Again, if you pay early, you can request a full refund up until 65 days before the tour. After that, 50 percent of your final payment is refundable up to 30 days before the tour. After that date, no refunds are issued. (If, however, we are able to fill your space with someone on our waiting list, we will consider issuing a refund, depending on your circumstances. We’re reasonable people!)
Globejotter Tours has negotiated special travel insurance rates with Travel Guard, and offers cancellation and trip interruption insurance at a discounted rate of $100 per person. Please contact us for full details.
If I am traveling alone, will I have my own room? Do I have to pay a single supplement?
Solo travelers have two options. They can either pay a single suppliment and get their own room, or skip the suppliment and be paired with a roommate of the same sex. (Please see each tour’s specific accommodations information for specifics and occasional exceptions to these policies.)
Is it possible for three people to share a room?
Usually, yes. If you would like to do this, please drop us an e-mail and we’ll let you know if we can arrange it for the itinerary you are interested in.
Who is Dave Fox and why is he qualified to lead these tours?
In addition to his 20+ years as a professional freelance travel writer, Dave also has many years of international tour guiding experience. He has traveled in nearly 50 countries on five continents, and lived in England, Norway, and Turkey. For the last 14 years, he has worked as a tour guide for Rick Steves’ Europe. He also guides tours for Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour in Seattle and has been a guest lecturer on Holland America cruises.
Not only is Dave an expert at handling tour logistics, he also has a knack for connecting with local people wherever he goes. He has helped chase down runaway sheep in Ireland, swum with school kids in Samoa, partied with farmers in rural Vietnam, and taught Kalihari Bushmen in Botswana how to play Frisbee.
What are the qualifications of your local guides?
Whenever possible, Dave works with local guides who he knows personally. They are all experts in their areas, speak good English, and are licensed according to local regulations.
I am interested in destinations that are not listed on your website. Do you ever do tours elsewhere?
Globejotter Tours was launched in January, 2010, with our Botswana journaling safari. Our next scheduled tour is in Vietnam in October, 2010. We also hope to add more Africa trips in 2011, as well as some weekend writing getaways in the United States…and a few more surprises percolating for 2011 and beyond.
If there are specific destinations you are interested in, please let us know! If there is enough demand for a certain place, we’ll certainly consider adding it.
We can also arrange private tours for groups of six or more people. If you have a writing group, an extended family, or simply a gang of cool people you’d like to explore the world with, drop us an e-mail or give us a call, and let us know where you’d like to go. We’re happy to chat about your ideas.
Can you help with pre- or post-tour travel arrangements?
We’re happy to offer advice on additional sightseeing before or after our tours. We do not handle airfares, but we’re happy to recommend our favorite travel agents.
How do I sign up?
To join one of our tours, your first step is to e-mail us at info@GlobejotterTours.com, or phone 206-922-2292. (If phoning from outside the US or Canada, the country code is 1.) If space is available on the trip you’re interested in, we’ll send you the necessary paperwork. We’ll hold a spot for you for up to a week until we receive your completed paperwork and initial $300 deposit. (If you are signing up less than 90 days before the tour starts, additional payments might also be due upon sign-up.)
What sorts of payment will you accept for your tours?
In order to keep our tour prices as low as possible, check or money order is the preferred method of payment. You may also pay via Paypal. If you do this, you can avoid paying Paypal fees if you already have an account set up with them. Paypal does also accept payment with several different credit cards, but they might add a surcharge if you use this method. If paying from outside the United States, we also accept payment by international bank transfer.
You'll find answers to questions about our Vietnam tour on our Vietnam FAQs page.